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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Elizabeth Hare
217-522-2838 x15
July 2, 2009

Music Director Karen Lynne Deal Renews Commitment to ISO

The Illinois Symphony announced today the results of elections at its annual meeting held last week, and the renewal of its contract with Music Director Karen Lynne Deal. Taking office on July 1st to serve for the 2009-2010 season are: Carole Ringer, President; Jane Schachtsiek, Vice President Administration; Larry Eggan, Vice President Development; Roger Hunt, Vice President Marketing; Marty Paludan, Secretary; and Debbie Ringer, Treasurer. 

Also elected to new or renewed terms with the Board of Directors are: Dennis Brtva, Elaine Cousins, Nichol DelGiorno, Victoria Nichols-Johnson, Carolyn Oxtoby, Rex Schaeffer and John Wohlwend. They join returning directors Wilma Beatty, Rick Williams, Ralph Hahn, Emily Schlenker, and Guild Presidents Cathy Albert and Kathryn Ransom. Carole Ringer began her tenure by announcing the newly signed contract with the ISO’s artistic leader. “The Board of the Illinois Symphony is pleased to have entered into another multi-year agreement with Karen Deal,” she remarked. “Karen has been tireless in her efforts both on and off the podium—engaging audiences, educating youth and adults, and offering us rich artistic experiences—and we look forward to a wonderful season together, beginning with the State Fair and parks concerts this summer and our Masterworks series in September.”

Expressing her admiration for the ISO, Maestra Deal said, “At a time when orchestras around the country are going out of business, I am so pleased that we are excelling in our efforts to bring great music to Central Illinois. I love this orchestra and I am grateful and eager to continue our forward momentum.”

As she took office, Mrs. Ringer said, “I am honored to follow John Wohlwend as President. During his year in office, the ISO saw its largest ever sponsorship, increased ticket sales, and launched a national search for a new Executive Director. In addition to financial contributions, he went the extra mile volunteering many hours of time and expertise to work alongside staff and board in producing a very successful 2008-2009 season.” Mrs. Ringer brings many years of experience to her position. She has supported the Illinois Symphony since its inception in 1993, continuing her work which began in 1970 with the Bloomington-Normal Symphony. She served as the sole administrator of the earlier orchestra for fourteen years and more recently as the first Executive Director of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. Her other areas of service in Bloomington include the District 87 School Board, Historical Society, Friends of the Arts (ISU), Bloomington Rotary Club, and active roles in many other community organizations.

Newly elected Vice President and Chair of the Springfield Advisors, Jane Schachtsiek remarked, “We’ve had a busy year with a welcomed opportunity to get better acquainted with our musicians and to expand board member engagement. We are excited about the new season’s programs and solo performances by several ISO musicians. It is a tribute to the high quality of our orchestra that so many are solo-caliber artists. The Springfield Advisors are thrilled to promote the orchestra as a treasured asset in our community.”

Dennis Brtva, new Chair of the Bloomington-Normal Advisors, added his enthusiasm for the new season. “Our advisors and guild volunteers in Bloomington are already working hard on our award-winning fall fundraiser, Symphony Celebrities, coming up on October 24. This annual event was honored last month for its creativity and success at the League of American Orchestra’s national meeting in Chicago. We know we’re doing something right when our colleagues around the country take notice.”

The 2009-2010 season opens in Bloomington on Friday, September 25 and in Springfield on Saturday, September 26 with a performance that celebrates Karen Deal’s tenth anniversary as Music Director. The Tenth Symphony of Shostakovich and the Cello Concerto of Khachaturian performed by Ian Maksin will headline this audience-pleasing program with a Russian flair. The season runs through April 24, with five Masterworks, four Chamber Orchestra, two Pops and a Family concert performed in each city. Season tickets are now on sale, offering subscribers as much as 20% off the regular ticket price, with many special perks. Single tickets go on sale August 17. For tickets or a full color brochure, contact the Springfield box office at 217-206-6160, or the Bloomington box office at 309-434-2777.

In addition, the orchestra again will offer its annual gift of music to Central Illinois, performing three FREE Pops Concerts this summer: State Fair on Monday, August 17 at 8pm at the Fairgrounds; Pops in the Park in Bloomington at 6:30pm at Miller Park on September 5; and Pops in the Park in Springfield at 6:30pm at Douglas Park on September 6. For more information on these concerts, contact the ISO office at 1-800-401-7222 or online at

See Attached: Bios and Photos for Karen Lynne Deal and Carole Ringer

Music Director and Conductor, Illinois Symphony Orchestra
Lauded for “creating the next generation of symphony audiences and Art’s advocates,” as well as for “a focused energy that gives her technique strength and precision,” Karen Lynne Deal is an enthusiastic audience builder with a fresh approach to classical music making. Beginning her tenth season as Music Director of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and the Illinois Chamber Orchestra, Maestra Deal has won the Illinois Humanities Council, “Studs Terkel” award for her service in education and outreach, the Illinois Council of Orchestras award for “Community Service,” the Springfield Art’s Council’s Mayor’s Award for Individual Artist of the Year, and the Illinois Council of Orchestras award for “Meritorious Service in Outstanding Programming.” She also created and conducted the 2008 “An American Dream” concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Abraham Lincoln Association and the NAACP and commemorating the anniversary of the Springfield Race Riots of 1908. In the 2008-09 season, at the request of the Illinois State Bicentennial Commission, she created a special community celebration concert at the Prairie Convention Center in honor of the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. That year she also led the Illinois Symphony in its debut performance at the renowned Ravinia Festival.

In demand as a guest conductor, Ms. Deal’s orchestral, ballet, and operatic repertoire is extensive. She has performed over 415 symphonic works from the standard repertoire with 27 orchestras, and has been music director for multiple performances of 31 different ballets and 9 operas. Guest engagements have included the Reading and New Mexico Symphony Orchestras, Boise Philharmonic, Waterloo/Cedar Falls (Iowa), Tulsa, Tucson, Sacramento, Richmond, Springfield (MO), Westmoreland, Brevard, and Bremerton Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Kansas City Camerata. At home with a wide variety of styles and concert formats, Maestra Deal has conducted for such prominent soloists as Itzhak Perlman, James Galway, and William Warfield, as well as popular artists, Peter, Paul and Mary, Chet Atkins, Kathy Mattea, and Mercedes Ellington. Summer of 2003 took her to Mexico City where she guest conducted the Orquesta del Nuevo Mundo, in the concert premiere of Mujeres e Musicas featuring Mexican premieres by female composers.

As Associate Conductor of the Nashville Symphony from 1992-2000, Ms. Deal made a true impact on the public at large. She also served as Music Director and Conductor of Nashville Ballet from 1992-2000, and frequently guest conducted for the Nashville Opera Association. Before moving to Nashville, Ms. Deal spent six years as Associate Conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and was Founding Music Director of the Sinfonia Concertante, a professional chamber orchestra noted for its commitment to living composers. She made her European debut in Vienna, Austria with the Pro Arte Orchestra and also assisted at the Frankfurt State Opera on performances of Der Rosenkavalier before returning to the United States to pursue doctoral studies at The Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. She has received conducting scholarships both at the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals, and won the National Repertory Orchestra’s Biennial Conducting Competition, serving two years as that orchestra’s associate conductor.

Ms. Deal’s public image is wide ranging, from appearances on PBS’ Nova science series, to the 1997 “Coolest People” award by Nashville Life magazine. She has received citations of appreciation from: the Mayor of Nashville, in “recognition of her years of leadership as creator, conductor, and coordinator of “Let Freedom Ring,” an annual musical tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the Nashville Public Schools Board of Education, for her “curriculum based performances... expanding children’s knowledge of music using a musical format to teach history, social studies, language arts and visual arts;” and from the Council of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville. She is a favorite guest speaker wherever she goes, and is often called upon to present lectures on leadership and diversity inclusion for academic and civic groups. In Springfield she has been a guest speaker for the Animal Protective League, Leadership Springfield, Illinois Women in Leadership, the Urban League, Freedom School, Prairie Heart Center for Living, Daughters of the American Revolution, and various other non-profit organizations. When not making music, Karen enjoys playing jazz flute, photography, history and swimming with whale sharks, reef sharks, giant manta rays, barracuda, and sea turtles. She lives in Springfield with her dogs Skye and Jake.

Board President, Illinois Symphony Orchestra

Carole M. Ringer is the newly elected President of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. She has served on the Board of Directors since 2007 and on the Bloomington-Normal Board of Advisors since 2005. She previously served as President of the former Bloomington-Normal Symphony from 1976-78, and was on its board from 1970-81. Following her term on the board, she became the General Manager of that orchestra from 1979 until 1993 when it merged with the Springfield Symphony to become the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Her love of music is life-long. After receiving her Masters of Music Education from Northwestern, Mrs. Ringer taught elementary and high school music classes for several years in public schools in Illinois, Iowa, and Washington State.

In her later professional life, Mrs. Ringer has distinguished herself as an experienced fund development officer not only with orchestras, but also with foundations including the BroMenn Foundations/Mennonite College of Nursing and the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, where she served as its first Executive Director from 2000-2005.

An active participant in the Bloomington-Normal community, she has served in various capacities on boards or committees of the Collaborative Solutions Institute, McLean County Museum of History, McLean County Medical Society Alliance, Board of Education-Bloomington District 87, Bloomington Rotary Club, Friends of the Arts (ISU) and First Presbyterian Church, among others. Professional affiliations include the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Central Illinois Planned Giving Council, the Illinois Council of Orchestras, the League of American Orchestras, the Illinois Arts Alliance and Sigma Alpha Iota. She is married to Jerry N. Ringer, MD, and has three grown children.



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